4th of July Snow Cone Cookies

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July everyone! I love a good sugar cookie with royal icing and getting creative with the design is one of my favorite things to do when planning a party. For this 4th of July I'm doing an "All American County Fair" theme with hotdogs, giant lollipops and a whole lot of gingham! I just attended my local county fair yesterday, which is a summer tradition here in San Diego. One of the best parts of the fair is of course the food. Apart from all the crazy deep-fired food they top themselves with every year, they have some of the most classic fair treats like cotton candy, ice cream and snow cones! This had me thinking, what better cookie to make for my county fair themed 4th than a snow cone cookie. 

For this cookie I used an ice cream cookie cutter and followed my family's sugar cookie recipe which I've included below. I always use the wilton royal icing mix to ice the cookies and finished them off with red and blue sprinkles. The most important part in making this cookie look like shaved ice is the sparkling sugar sprinkles that I sprinkle over the entire "ice" area of the cookie. These sprinkles really look like shaved ice and bring the cookie to life! Hope you enjoy this recipe and have a wonderful 4th of July.

Sugar Cookie Recipe (makes about 30 cookies)

1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


Pre-heat oven to 350. Cream sugar and butter until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients slowly. Chill at least 1 hr. Roll out cookies and use a circle cutter (I used a pot lid), then cut the circle into 8 equal slices (this is easier if you use a pizza cutter). Bake for 7-10 minutes. After cookies have cooled, follow instructions on Wilton Royal Icing mix. Ice the cookies and sprinkle with red, blue and sparkling sugar sprinkles. 

Little Black Dress for Summer

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

La Jolla, CA

Dress: Free People // Kimono: Forever 21 (currently sold out in mauve but similar here & here) // Sunnies: Target // Sandals: Nordstrom
I've been on the lookout out for a little black dress that I can wear all summer long and can dress up for nights out or dress down for days spent by the beach. I honestly have a hard time finding a good black dress that fits me well, is comfortable, is sleeveless for summer and isn't just a plain body con. After much searching, I came across the perfect one just a few days ago, just in time for the summer heat wave! I picked up this adorable (and super comfy) LBD from free people and its basically become my go-to for any summer outfit. 
 Since its been super hot here in San Diego, I like choosing as light and airy of a piece I can to go with my summer dresses, especially since I get overheated easily and want to be comfortable all night long. So what better a summer piece than a lightweight satin kimono! I wore this little ensemble for a warm day out in La Jolla and into the night for dinner at my favorite pizza spot. I finished the outfit off with some matching mauve sunnies and tan gladiators. If you're looking for the perfect summer LBD to wear for a special night out or as a base for any summer outfit, be sure to check out this one from Free People. 

The Perfect Tan with Vita Liberata

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Shop these products: pHenomenal Tanning Mousse // Body Blur // Ten Minute Tan // Pressed Trysal Bronzing Powder (use code NATALIE20 at checkout for 20% off)
I've always been a huge advocate of sunless tanning, especially since I have very pale skin naturally. Apart from protecting my skin from sun damage, I am not the biggest fan of being in the sun for too long because I get lightheaded and overheated pretty easily. So you can see why sunless tanning is the perfect solution for me! I've tried so many tanning products and after testing out dozens of brands I've found "the one" that meets all of my requirements and honestly out performs the rest. 

Vita Liberata tanning products are the first tanners I've tried that have zero scent, contain all natural ingredients, are free of any harsh chemicals and give the perfect olive toned tan! My favorite product from Vita Liberata is the pHenomenal Tanning Mousse. The mousse lasts about 2-3 weeks (which is twice as long as other high end tanners I've tried) and is also the only tanner I've used that fades like a natural tan. Because the mousse has moisturizing ingredients (the first ingredient is aloe vera!) it doesn't dry out the skin which prevents it from fading in a patchy or scaly pattern. I use the medium or dark shade. 
I've recently tried a few of their other products like the Body Blur which gives a gorgeous glow and covers imperfections. I've also been loving the Ten Minute Tan which is perfect for when you're short on time. You only need to leave it on for ten minutes before washing it off and then it will develop over the next 4-6 hours. And lastly, the Pressed Trystal Bronzing Powder, the first of its kind, actually creates a gradual tan so your contour stays on even after you've washed off your makeup. I know you'll love these amazing tanning products as much as I do and the gorgeous sunless tan they give you! Make sure to use my discount code NATALIE20 at checkout for 20% off at www.vitaliberata.com

Holy Matcha

Friday, June 2, 2017

Holy Matcha, San Diego

 If you know me, you know I love all things blush, palm print and marble. So when I saw photos of this adorable cafe circulating online that was decked out in pink, palm print and marble, I just had to check it out! This is Holy Matcha in San Diego, CA. It's nestled on a busy street in the North Park area of San Diego. When you walk into this Matcha haven, it feels as if you've been transported into a tropical paradise that has the loveliest details and cutest decor! The walls and ceiling are painted light pink and the entire left side wall is covered in a water paint palm print wall paper. There's gorgeous marble tables along with the marble countertop where you order. 
Dress: Target (similar) // Leggings: Lululemon // Boots: Steve Madden
 This cafe has perfect little details everywhere you look and I seriously felt like someone designed this place just for me! It is so my style so of course I had to feature it on my blog. Their menu consists of hot and iced matcha drinks along with some delicious fresh lemonade options and yummy treats to go with them. I chose the rose lemonade which was so yummy and refreshing, it was even served with fresh flowers on top! If you're in San Diego and looking for a cute spot to grab a refreshment be sure to check out Holy Matcha! 

Summer Linen Dress

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dress: Free People // Sandals: Nordstrom (similar)
Summer comes early in San Diego and with that so does Summer fashion. It's beginning to warm up so I've been on the search for pieces I can wear that are nice and airy, keeping me cool from the heat, while still looking cute. 
I can have quite a hard time finding a summer dress. I need something that is comfortable, not going to make me burn to death in the hot summer days, fits me just right and fits my personal style. Basically, finding a good summer dress often takes a whole lot of time and endless searching for me. So when I do come across something that meets these requirements, you know I'll be wearing it all summer long. 
A few weeks ago I came across this adorable Free People dress at Nordstrom and just fell in love with it. It is super comfortable and light weight, perfect for hot days. It also fit me very well and came in the cutest pattern! I've been obsessed with this beige/cream striped print for a while, especially on linen fabric, but until now I had only seen it on tops or maxi dresses. I also love finding a summer dress that has a a short to mid length sleeve (which can be quite difficult to find in the summer months), and the sleeve on this dress was the perfect length and has the cutest flouncy bell at the bottom of the sleeve. This linen piece fit all my requirements for that perfect summer dress. Let's just say you're sure to see me wearing it a lot! I wore this dress out to dinner last night to one of my favorite restaurants, Indigo Grill in Little Italy, San Diego. It was the perfect outfit for a warm night out with friends! I chose to pair this dress with my favorite pair of gladiators and some loose beachy waves. I've linked the dress below along with some other Summer Linen Dresses I'm loving.

Achieving the Perfect Pout

Thursday, May 18, 2017

 Trying to achieve that perfect full pout while not like you've outlined your lips beyond oblivion can be extremely tricky. I'm sure many of you have also tried to master the art of the perfect pout. I've learned from trial and error and have gotten it down to a simple process that works on me as well as anyone who I've tried it on! Since I don't have the fullest lips, this process definitely creates the illusion of a much fuller pout for me. 
Along with creating an illusion of fuller lips I also want to share a product with you guys that has actually made my lips fuller over time. I've tried just about every product on the market claiming that it can make your lips grow fuller permanently and this product is the only one that actually delivers on that promise. Its the City Lips plumping gloss! If you aren't familiar with this product, its a gloss that stimulates new collagen development in the area applied. I used this gloss for a month twice daily and definitely could see a difference in my before and after shots. Another reason why I love this product is that it also plumps as soon as you apply it so it's perfect to use before creating your fuller lip look with makeup! Now that you know about this awesome plumper you can use it as part of your routine to achieving the perfect pout!

My 3 Steps for Achieving the Perfect Pout:

  1. Apply City Lips plumping gloss and allow 10 minutes for it to plump your lips then gently dab the gloss off of your lips. 
  2. Now that your lips are a bit plumper and moisturized, use a matte lip liner to line your lips, very subtly outlining the cupid's bow. Also outline the lower lip just at the middle underneath where the lip begins to fold. For the rest of the lips, just apply the lip liner on your actual lip line. Fill in the rest of lips entirely with the liner and lightly blot it with your finger tips to ensure it is smooth and even. (Here I am using Bite Beauty lip liner in the shade 050)
  3. Lastly, apply a creamy lipstick similar to the shade of your liner that is slightly translucent. This is key is making your pout look natural and not overly matte and chalky. (Here I am using MAC lipstick in Hug Me)

Real Girl's Guide to Getting that Highlight

Monday, May 8, 2017

I've always felt that there is a disconnect between the astounding makeup we see makeup artists post on Instagram and youtube and the makeup most of us wear on a day to day basis. There are thousands of tutorials and instructional posts showing you how to achieve any given look or technique but from my own experience, unless you are quite the master of makeup application it can be honestly difficult to come close to achieving the flawless makeup our favorite makeup gurus post. 
One of the biggest challenges in this department is achieving the perfectly glowing highlight that can be seen from a mile away yet doesn't look like costume makeup. I've worn highlighter for years now and never understood why no matter how much I applied it wouldn't be nearly as visible on me as it was on my favorite my makeup artist's on instagram. While capturing makeup on camera is a challenge of it's own, I want to share with you how I have learned to achieve the perfect highlight.

This is the real girl's guide to achieving that highlight:

  1. Not all highlighters are created equal: There is a huge variety of highlighters on the market, from liquid, to cream to powdered. A large part of deciding what formula of highlighter you want depends on what other makeup you are going to be wearing. For example, I wear a mineral powder foundation, so a liquid highlighter underneath the foundation is not going to be very visible on me. This is why I opt for a powder highlighter. 
  2. Picking the right shade for your skin tone: Obviously you don't want to buy too dark of a shade that it won't show up on your skin tone or too light of a shade that it will look like you have frosted your face with too light of a foundation. This is simple, however it can be very tricky within these parameters to find the right shade for your skin tone. The best way to find the right shade is to swatch the highlighters side by side on your skin. I had been wearing the same highlighter for a long time and the shade looked right to me until I swatched it next to another highlighter that was a bit lighter in shade. Next to the lighter toned highlighter, my current highlighter looked far too close to my own skin tone which explains why it never showed up as well as I would have liked.
  3. Application: A huge part in getting highlighters to look like they do on favorite makeup artists is in the application. I had been applying my powder highlighter with a fan brush and it just gave a very subtle glow but when I sprayed that brush with a makeup setting spray (I like MAC's fix +) it picked up so much more pigment and showed up ten times more vibrant on my skin that without the fix +. When applying liquid or creme highlighters it's important to pat the highlighter on rather than completely rubbing it into the skin. This ensures that the glow stays in the spot you want it and retains all of its pigment.
I hope this helps you achieve the highlight you've been striving for. If you have any questions about getting that glow just right feel free to ask in the comments!